If you've read this blog for any period of time you'll probably know I'm not a huge fan of the big credit card companies. They tend to toe the line between what's legal and illegal and in the end it's always the consumer who gets hurt. My feeling on the topic is that in most cases you're better off not having a credit card. It's hard for the companies to do you wrong when you aren't giving them your business!
Even though I'm not a huge fan of the credit cards, I still hold on to one credit card mainly for the cash rewards program. I know, I know – Dave Ramsey would shoot me if he read that, but I only use the credit card on large purchases when I have the cash already sitting in the bank account ready to pay it off. As soon as it hits the card, I pay it off. I never pay interest.
Because of using the rewards credit card I end up getting $50-100 back in cash rewards every year. It's not much, but it's enough to make it worth my while. But still, I really don't want to use a credit card if I don't have to. Before it seemed like I didn't really have any other options because not many checking accounts offered a rewards program. Now there is one that does.
Perkstreet Financial Free Online Checking
Perkstreet Financial has burst onto the scene with a rewards checking account option where you can get 2% cash back for the first 3 months, and if your balance is over $5000, 2% after that! Balances under $5000 earn 1% cash back. What all this means to me is that there is really no reason for that cash back credit card anymore when you can get the same benefits from a debit card!
Some of the Perkstreet Checking account's benefits include:
- No Cap On the Amount of Perks You Can Earn
- Nation's Largest Surcharge-Free ATM Network
- No Minimum Balance Requirement
- No Monthly Fees When You Use Your Account
- Sign-Up In Just 5 Minutes
- Free Online Banking and Bill Pay
- No Need to Worry, Deposits are FDIC Insured Up to $250,000 and Protected from Fraud by the Visa Zero Liability Policy
- PerkStreet Financial? Visa® Debit Card gives you 2% cash back
- Super fast live phone service, 24/7
Signing Up For Perkstreet
Signing up for Perkstreet is a pretty simple process that only takes 5 minutes according to their site. It's a four step process – selection (what type of rewards and account you want), identification, review of your information, and funding via credit or debit card.
Some of the information you'll need to open your account includes:
- Social Security Number
- Personal information
- Driver’s license
- Debit or credit card to make the initial $25 deposit.
According to others who have opened accounts you won't get a hard credit pull on your credit report when you open an account, unless you open a “plus” account – with overdraft protection. I'm not sure if this is true or not, so be advised.
Some of the things that stand out about the account to me include the high number of free ATMs you can use when you have the account (over 37,000 of them in the STARsf® surcharge-free network), no monthly fees as long as you use the account, free bill pay, and the protection of FDIC insurance of up to $250,000 on your account. So you don't have to worry about your money being safe. On top of that now you don't need to get a credit card to have a rewards account! Bye, bye credit cards!
The only down side that I can see to the account is that it isn't an interest bearing account. While that may not be great, for me I've already got a high yield savings account that I use for my larger emergency fund. If I chose to open an account I could use the Perkstreet account as a place for regular monthly spending – probably earning more cash back than I would have gained in interest anyway.
If you're looking for an account where you can earn rewards for spending that you're doing anyway, but you don't want a credit card, I'd recommend checking out Perkstreet.
Have you signed up for an account with Perkstreet? What was your experience with them? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.